The Ethics of Stud Work – Jenny Bird
First published in the Autumn Newsletter 2003 and written by Jenny Bird, Hon Secretary
Asked by the Committee to write an article on the ‘ethics’ of stud work, Jenny Bird wrote the following.
We feel it is not desirable to draw up a form of contract to be signed by both dog and bitch owner, but do feel that there are certain guidelines that should be adhered to. I would, firstly ask one question “Why are you mating your bitch?” If the answer is any one of the following, please think again:
It would be good for her·
The children will enjoy it·
We want another Flatcoat·
We need a new stair carpet/cooker etc
Unless your bitch has done well in some sphere ie showing or working, you may find it difficult to sell the 8 or 9 puppies you are not keeping. There are more than enough puppies bred each year to supply the demand and if you are left with unsold 12 and 14-week old puppies, they become very expensive.
The use of a stud dog on a bitch is very much an agreement between the two owners but there are certain criteria that should be fulfilled.
No Flatcoat bitch should be mated before the age of 2, I would suggest that near 3 years is better.
Both dog and bitch should have been x-rayed and scored for hip dysplasia, both should have current eye certificates including gonioscopy. Failure in either department need not necessarily mean that the animals cannot be bred from. Take the dog as a whole, type, temperament, working/show success and seek advice.
The stud dog should be booked in advance. Study pedigrees and dogs and contact the owner of your chosen dog to request the use of the dog. If all the above tests have been completed and the stud dog owner is agreeable, this is the time to confirm certain things. Enquire about the stud fee.
The average fee at this time is around £600. Usually this is payable at the time of mating. Payment is for the actual mating of your bitch and it is the responsibility of the bitch owner to get her to the dog on the right day.
Most stud dog owners will offer a free repeat mating if the bitch misses, but this is a courtesy and not a hard and fast rule. On payment of the stud fee, a pedigree and signed KC Litter Registration Form should be given to the bitch’s owner.If there are other arrangements re the stud fee, it is best to agree on them before the mating takes place. Sometimes a puppy is taken in lieu of the stud fee. Sort out what sex of puppy and what number of ‘pick’ the stud dog owner is requesting.
I would suggest, unless the two owners are very good friends, that this is written down and signed by both parties.If it is a maiden dog being used I would not take a stud fee until the bitch proved to be in whelp. Again, this must be agreed upon before the mating takes place.I personally do not take a stud fee if we do not achieve a ‘tie’.
I feel that we have not had a proper mating and, indeed, on the odd occasion that my dogs have not tied their bitches, no puppies have been produced. In these circumstances, I do not sign a Litter Registration Form. Should the bitch subsequently prove to be in whelp, then the stud fee becomes payable and the form should be signed and handed over.
The owner of the bitch should inform the dog’s owner when she comes into season. It should then be possible for both parties to organise in advance so they are free to do the mating at the correct time, ie normal practice for the bitch to travel to the dog. Alternative arrangements should be agreed upon by both owners. It is polite to keep in contact with the dog’s owner and certainly to let them know on what day and approximately at what time you will arrive so the dog’s exercise and feeding regimes can be adjusted.
As a stud dog owner, I request that the puppies have their registrations endorsed ‘Progeny not to be registered’ and ‘Not to be issued with an export pedigree’. This gives some control over the puppies and the endorsements can be lifted at the discretion of the breeder and for the right reasons. This, hopefully ensures that the puppies have eyes and hips done before being bred from. If they have not, the progeny cannot be registered while the endorsements remain in place.
The owners of stud dogs share equal responsibility for the puppies that are produced. I like to keep in fairly close contact with people who use my dog. If there are problems I like to know. If possible, I like to see the puppies and be confident my dog is siring strong, healthy, typical Flatcoats. Owning a Stud Dog is not about banking cheques. Be selective in the bitches you accept to your dog.
If you have any doubts about the mating, do not do it. You may be able to suggest a better dog for that particular bitch. Remember, your dog’s reputation stands on the puppies he produces.
Finally all stud dog owners need to be aware of the opening up of the European and Scandinavian boundaries.Bitches can now come here to be mated to our dogs. This appears to be a great honour, but we do need to check that these owners are reputable in their own country.
Make enquiries before agreeing to anything, as people here should know people in the relevant country, to help you make some enquires before you allow your dog to sire a litter you will have no contact with or any influence over.